Travers ready to hit the slopes

Cayman’s sole competitor in the Sochi Winter Olympics, Dow Travers, dons his skis Wednesday to compete in the Men’s Giant Slalom. 

Mr. Travers is slated to compete at 2 a.m. Wednesday Cayman time, or 11 a.m. Sochi time. 

Attracted by the apparent oddity of an alpine skier from the Caribbean, Mr. Travers, 26, has featured on international news outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, and is now expected to appear in a segment on Winter Olympics broadcaster NBC. 

NBC Universal producer Stephanie Himango said the network’s crew is putting together a segment on “athletes who come from warm weather, tropical or otherwise non-traditional Winter Olympic countries,” which will air on Wednesday. 

However, she said she was not sure if NBC would televise Travers’s heats as part of its tape-delayed coverage slated for 8 p.m. Wednesday Cayman time. 

Mr. Travers is getting used to people expressing surprise that an island that isn’t known for its snow has a competitive skier in the Olympics. 

“You certainly get a double take when people see “Cayman Islands” on your jacket,” he said, “but I think it’s great that there are varied nations competing. I think we have a little bit of local support as well, provided I’m not up against a Russian.  

“We also received a letter from the International Ski Federation congratulating my brother (Dean Travers, also an alpine skier) on being ranked number one in the world for his age and added that it was better for the global promotion and interest of skiing for different nations to appear at the top of the ranking lists and standings.” 

Mr. Travers, who was born and raised in Cayman, has grabbed attention as well for being one of the few competitors to speak positively about athletes’ living conditions and helping the Jamaican bobsled team with their accommodations.  

Mr. Travers, the eldest of three brothers, says the added focus can only bolster the level of support he is currently enjoying.  

The international stage is nothing new for Mr. Travers, who is making his second appearance at a Winter Olympics. He competed at the 2010 Vancouver Games, where he placed 69th in the giant slalom. In Sochi, he is joined by his coach Jake Zamansky, a former U.S. Olympic skier, and a delegation that includes David Carmichael as chef de mission, Cayman Islands Olympic Committee president Donald McLean, and Bernie Bush, Olympic Committee treasurer. 

With a second event – the Men’s Slalom – coming up on Feb. 22, Mr. Travers says he is ready to turn heads on his skis. 

“Since Vancouver, where I raced Giant Slalom, I’ve been working on my other disciplines and as a result, I will be skiing in both technical disciplines in Sochi. The top racers in the world competed in Vancouver and the top racers in the world will compete here in Sochi. I don’t think about the outcome, because there are too many variables not under the racer’s control in ski racing. I’m going to focus on my technique and ski the cleanest run that I can, and then the result follows.” 

Dow-Travers-S

Dow Travers trained in Aspen prior to the Sochi Games.